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Review: HTC Sensation XL and Sensation XE

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Take a look around at the way people use their smartphones. It’s not just a phone and camera – it’s also the easiest way to carry and listen to our music.

HTC has taken these observations and come up with two new models – the Sensation XL and Sensation XE.

What sets these devices apart is the integration of audio guru Dr Dre’s Beats Audio and included Dr Dre headphones for an enhanced listening experience.  

The Beats symbol signifies audio quality and Dr Dre’s earphones and headphones are popular among consumers who value audio quality.

That quality, and the Beats symbol, is now a part of HTC’s Sensation XL and XE.

With Beats Audio on board the devices, the audio quality has been significantly enhanced and, when combined with the included Dr Dre’s headphones, the result is arguably the best audio experience we’ve had with a smartphone.

Both the Sensation XL and the Sensation XE are exclusive to Vodafone.

The HTC Sensation XL comes with a pair of Dr Dre Beats Solo headphones

HTC Sensation XL

This device stands out for a number of reasons. For a start it’s white and really grabs your attention.

But is also has a gigantic 4.7-inch screen so it’s only an inch or two short of being a tablet.

It’s also quite thin as well – just 9.9mm so while the screen is massive it can still slip into your pocket.

Under the hood is a speedy 1.5Ghz processor, the latest Android operating system 2.3.5 along with an 8 megapixel camera.

But it’s the audio performance that will be the main selling point of this device.

Included with the package is a pair of white Dr Dre Beats Solo headphones. The headphones sit over your ears and create a seal that keeps the music in and the ambient noise out.

Beats Audio optimises the audio performance of the device and provides richer and more detailed sound. Bass is also enhanced significantly.

The audio has been tuned specifically to work with the Dr Dre Beats Solo headphones and when we connected them to the HTC Sensation XL and started listening to our music – the outside world ceased to exist.

The sound quality has to be heard to be believed. Included with our review HTC Sensation XL were a selection of songs which showcased the full audio range of Beats Audio and the Dr Dre headphones.

The HTC Sensation SE comes with urBeats Dr Dre earphones

HTC Sensation XE

The HTC Sensation XE has the same topline specs as the Sensation XL except it is has a dual core processor, is black and has a smaller 4.3-inch screen – although that screen size itself is still among the largest on the market. It has 8GB storage and full HD video recording – the XL has 16GB storage and 720p video recording.

The Sensation XE also has Beats Audio on board and, it too, offers a dynamic audio performance which is optimised for the Dr Dre headphones.

This time the included Dr Dre headphones are the in-ear urBeats which sit snugly in your ear and suit those listeners who don’t want to the larger over the ears headphones.

What amazed us was the level of audio quality which could be achieved from these small earphones.

What we didn’t like

The size of the HTC Sensation XL is great in many ways but also inconvenient when it comes to fitting it on your pocket.

The included Dr Dre headphones are excellent and great for listening to music but adjusting the volume means reaching for the handset itself.

With the urBeats earphones included with the Sensation XE, there are navigation controls and even a microphone on the cord but there is also no volume control.

We assume the controls were for the volume but all we did was move to the next song.


If you use your smartphone to listen to music but still want to enjoy a quality audio experience then the HTC Sensation XL and Sensation XE are right for you.

Both are excellent smartphones with fast processors, impressive 8 megapixel cameras and a multitude of features.

But if music is close to your heart then having those tunes on device that always at hand like a smartphone is a bonus. With the HTC Sensation XL and Sensation XE with Beats Audio that music will sound better than ever.

HTC Sensation XL

Price: Available on 12 and 24 months plans with Vodafone

Four stars (out of five)

HTC Sensation XE

Price: Available on 12 and 24 month plans with Vodafone

Four stars (out of five)

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